Omicron: School closures must be ‘avoided whenever possible’

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COVID-19 cases are spiking each implicit the world, but the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said connected Friday that contempt the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant “nationwide schoolhouse closures should beryllium avoided whenever possible.”

“When COVID-19 assemblage transmission increases and stringent nationalist wellness measures go a necessity, schools indispensable beryllium the past places to adjacent and the archetypal to re-open”, argued Henrietta Fore.

The caller cases are being fuelled, increasingly, by Omicron; the caller variant of interest that nationalist wellness experts and scientists are moving hard to recognize and assess.

Amid rising uncertainty, galore governments are weighing whether to support schools open.

COVID-19 cases are again spiking each implicit the world, fueled, increasingly, by Omicron, a caller variant of concern.

Amid rising uncertainty, galore governments are weighing whether to support schools open.

— Henrietta H. Fore (@unicefchief) December 17, 2021

Ms. Fore said that 1 happening was certain: “Another question of wide schoolhouse closures would beryllium disastrous for children.”

Rising cases

For Ms. Fore, “the grounds is clear” and further prolonged, nationwide schoolhouse closures, resulting successful constricted resources for students, teachers and parents - and deficiency of entree to distant learning - would person superior consequences.

“[These closures] person wiped retired decades of advancement successful acquisition and rendered puerility unrecognizable. A shadiness pandemic of kid labour, kid matrimony and intelligence wellness issues has taken hold”, Ms. Fore said.

Beyond mislaid learning, the UNICEF main said, children person besides go little harmless by being excluded from a schoolhouse environment, missing retired connected regular in-person interactions with friends, entree to healthcare, and, excessively often, their lone nutritious repast of the day.

According to the UN agency, this procreation of schoolchildren could collectively suffer $ 17 trillion successful imaginable beingness earnings.


Addressing however to lick this challenge, Ms. Fore said that “mitigation measures successful schools are effective” and authorities “must usage this cognition to bash everything” to support schools open.

Member States “must besides summation investments successful integer connectivity to marque definite that nary kid is near behind”, she added.

Ms. Fore concluded saying that “2022 cannot beryllium yet different twelvemonth of disrupted learning.”

“It needs to beryllium the twelvemonth that education, and the champion interests of children, instrumentality precedence”, she added.

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